The American Youth Soccer Organization is the main reason I've become a big advocate for Positive Coaching. When looking for sports programs for our kids, AYSO really impressed me and my wife. No other youth sports program seemed to deliver as high quality an overall program for as low a cost. And now that i've been volunteering for the program for 8 years, I realize a hidden benefit is that AYSO not only develops better soccer players, it also develops and improves its volunteers.
AYSO is a remarkable organization that is the role model most other youth sports programs now follow. AYSO has been instrumental in improving how youth sports is approached. For its work in creating a positive environment for youth athletes, AYSO earned the Positive Coaching Alliance’s 2009 National Leadership Award
AYSO strives to give every child an excellent soccer experience based on it's six philosophies:
1) Open Registration -- so all youth, regardless of capability, can experience the joy of learning soccer on a team.
2) Everyone Plays -- so everyone on a team gets roughly equal playing time, no one is forced to sit on the bench. National AYSO mandates at least 50% playing time at every game and many regions such as Sunnyvale Region 44 shoot for a minimum of 75% playing time.
3) Balanced Teams -- so all teams have a reasonable chance of winning some and losing some and no teams dominate all others, there is much to learn from both winning and losing.
4) Positive Coaching -- so players, parents, and coaches all have a positive and fun learning experience.
5) Good Sportsmanship -- so we all can learn to be better sportsman (and citizens).
6) Player Development -- so we remember that developing our players is the focus of the program (this sixth philosophy was just added in May 2009 although it has been core to AYSO from the very beginning).
AYSO offers the very best in player and volunteer training. All of its training programs (management, referee, and coach) are well thought out and thorough -- but particularly its coach program.
The AYSO coach training program is the only national youth soccer program that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education. And it is one of only two national youth sports programs with this accreditation. The other is Special Olympics. All AYSO training is designed by soccer, coach, and youth development pros to make the AYSO soccer program efficient, effective, and fun for both youth and volunteers. The AYSO coach training program will make you a better coach, a better parent, and even a better manager. Positive coaching skills are good for everyone.
To learn more about AYSO, please see http://soccer.org There are also some good videos at http://ayso2a.org.
My local Sunnyvale AYSO Region 44 and all other national AYSO regions are now registering players and volunteers for the fall 2009 soccer season. For Sunnyvale, please go to http://ayso44.org to pre-register online.
Sunnyvale AYSO provides one of the best values in local sports -- it is only $85 per player for the fall 2009 season and financial aid is available for those who need it. Compare that to the costs of most other local soccer options.
Some other local South SF Bay AYSO regions are:
West San Jose - http://ayso64.org
Mountain View - http://ayso45.org
Cupertino - http://ayso35.org
Saratoga - http://www.saratogasoccer.org/
Los Altos - http://ayso43.org
Palo Alto - http://ayso26.org
For other regions in the US and some even world wide, visit http://soccer.org